What does it mean? Business terms and acronyms defined and explained

The skilled world is stuffed with jargon. That’s at all times been the case — from historic Roman restaurateurs with their vomitoria to sailors throwing round phrases like “fo’c’s’le” (i.e., the forecastle, or ahead deck of a ship). Equally baffling are acronyms — like “SWOT,” “ROS,” and “WYSIWYG” — which may be extra annoying than useful IMHO.

While you may’t anticipate to know each little bit of lingo on the market, for those who’re seeking to get forward in your profession, you’ll must develop a working data of the extra frequent key phrases and acronyms listed on this information. That’s very true for those who’re available in the market for a brand new place: Most HR departments’ ATSs (utility monitoring methods) are programmed to search for keyword-rich resumes. 

With that in thoughts, we’ve put collectively this glossary of enterprise phrases — together with employment-related key phrases, monetary and technical terms, and textual content and e-mail shorthand — that can assist you land that dream job. And for these of you who assume you understand it all, we invite you to learn via our record and ship us ideas for different terms we are able to clarify. Consider this an endlessly updatable glossary.


ACCT: account

A paying buyer or shopper. Can be a person, a model, an organization, or an establishment. 

AIDA: consideration, curiosity, need, motion

An promoting time period describing the steps a possible buyer goes via earlier than shopping for a services or products. Mentioned by Alec Baldwin in his classic “Glengarry Glen Ross” speech.

AR: accounts receivable

The cash coming in. Whatever funds a buyer or shopper owes an organization however has not but paid.

AP: accounts payable

The cash going out. Whatever an organization owes to distributors or contractors however has not but paid.

API: utility programming interface

Software that enables two totally different packages or platforms to speak to one another. Used by firms after they need to let enterprise companions or third-party builders entry firm knowledge, or after they need to facilitate info trade between inside departments.

ERP: enterprise useful resource planning

Management software program that helps firms with day-to-day operations. ERP software program can embody every part together with undertaking administration, threat evaluation, compliance, accounting, and supply-chain logistics.

At-will employment

A job wherein your employer can let you go at any time, with out discover, trigger, or clarification, so long as it does not violate state or federal legal guidelines. (On the plus facet, it’s also possible to give up everytime you like, and don’t have to offer discover or purpose.) 

ATS: applicant monitoring system

Software that firms use to just accept and monitor job purposes — usually derided for being needlessly time-consuming, advanced, proprietary, and unable to seize job seekers’ personalities. For extra, see our ATS protection.


B2B: business-to-business

Indicates that an organization supplies items and/or companies to different firms to assist them meet their enterprise targets. 

B2C: business-to-consumer

Indicates that an organization supplies items and/or companies on to shoppers. 

BD: enterprise improvement

The science (some would say artwork) of rising the enterprise and creating worth for a corporation from markets, prospects, and relationships.

BID: break it down

The methodology of coaching a brand new worker by breaking down duties into smaller, simply digestible duties. This supplies observe and builds the worker’s confidence. 

BR: bounce charge 

BR is a measure of how many individuals land in your web site then depart with out clicking on some other of your pages. It’s the equal of a buyer sticking his head within the door of your store, wanting round, then deciding to proceed down the road.

BS: stability sheet

Essentially, the record of the cash going out in comparison with the cash coming in. Can be a fantastically sophisticated doc, relying on the dimensions of the corporate and the quantity of enterprise it does. (See additionally NAV, EDIDTA, P&L for examples) 


CAO: chief analytics officer

Head of an organization’s knowledge evaluation efforts. The CAO leads the staff that collects and interprets knowledge concerning the firm, prospects, and efficiency, utilizing the data to assist the corporate enhance effectivity and develop. 

CDO: chief knowledge officer

Sometimes overlapping with the CAO, the chief knowledge officer of an organization is in control of all data-collecting methods, making certain knowledge high quality, and managing what knowledge is collected within the first place. Not to be confused with chief digital officer (additionally CDO), who’s often in control of an organization’s swap from an analog to a digital atmosphere.  

CEO: chief government officer

Basically the captain of the ship, the CEO comes up with the technique for continued progress and evolution of the corporate, oversees and evaluates the chief management, stories again to the board of administrators, and serves as the public face of the company.

CFO: chief monetary officer

The head bean-counter, the CFO is in control of an organization’s funds, holding monitor of money move, planning the corporate’s monetary future, and overseeing all monetary and tax  stories required by legislation. 

CFP: licensed monetary planner

Any monetary advisor who passes the rigorous CFP certification check, a CFP is just like a CPA, however focuses on advising particular person purchasers about funding and retirement planning. 

CIO: chief info officer

Sometimes the CIO position overlaps with the CTO position, however the common duties of the CIO are extra strategic, making certain that an organization’s technical sources are  optimized to realize its total enterprise targets. CIOs handle IT and improvement departments.

CMO: chief advertising officer

The government finally accountable for a corporation’s gross sales and promoting methods and progress. 

CMS: content material administration system

The utility or purposes {that a} web site staff makes use of to arrange and retailer its website content material, add new content material, and archive info resembling advertising identifiers; writing and photograph credit, customers feedback, and many others.

COB: shut of enterprise

Similar to EOD, although it has a a lot clearer deadline in companies with retail hours than in workplaces the place work hours can bleed into the night. 


The accountability of an organization to conduct itself in accordance with all legal guidelines, laws, and contractual obligations. Including something from working situations and environmental affect to equal-opportunity hiring and defending client knowledge. 

COO: chief working officer

Sometimes known as VP of operations, a COO is usually the CEO’s proper hand, and is in control of the day-to-day operating of the corporate. 

CPA: licensed public accountant

Any monetary adviser who has handed the CPA check and fulfilled some other authorized necessities. CPAs usually take care of questions of accounting, auditing, and taxes, and generally work for corporations and institutional purchasers. A CPA certification provides job seekers way more alternatives, and many companies is not going to rent an accountant with out one. 

CPC: price per click on

See additionally PPC (value per click on). The agreed-upon charge at which an internet advertiser pays an internet site each time somebody clicks on one in all its advertisements on that web site. 

CR: conversion charge

An on-line metric that measures what number of web site guests click on on a hyperlink and full a specified job related to that hyperlink, as in comparison with the full variety of guests to the location. For instance, when somebody clicks on an advert for an internet retailer, then completes a purchase order at that retailer, that counts as a profitable conversion.

CR: credit score

Under the double-entry accounting methodology, a credit score is entered on a stability sheet each time there’s a legal responsibility improve or an belongings lower. In order for the books to be balanced, each CR must have a corresponding debit (DR.)

CRM: buyer relationship administration

The methods, applied sciences, and coaching that an organization makes use of to take care of and enhance its relationship with its prospects.

CSO: chief safety officer

Also typically often called chief Information safety officer (CISO). The senior most safety government within the firm, liable for implementing and sustaining methods to guard the digital and bodily belongings of the corporate, together with proprietary info and the security of the workers themselves. 

CSR: company social accountability

The practices by which an organization manages its impact on society exterior of purely enterprise issues, together with areas resembling environmental affect, racial and sexual range, and company charity.

CSS: cascading fashion sheet

A method of formatting the commonest design and structure parts of an internet site. A CSS defines issues like textual content sizes and desk configurations multi functional place so HTML coders don’t should recreate them each time they happen. 

C-suite or C-level

Referring to anybody within the management team with a “chief” title, resembling CEO, CMO, and CFO. A C-suite government is somebody in high administration.

CTA: name to motion

Direct language prompting the consumer or buyer to take motion, usually offered in net design as a button or banner. Simple examples embody “Click right here!” “Buy now!” and “Subscribe”

CTO: chief know-how officer

The C-suite government in an organization liable for technical methods and R&D efforts. Generally, the CTO concentrates on technical initiatives that may assist develop the corporate’s enterprise, versus  day-to-day inside tech points. 

CTR: click-through charge

The variety of customers who click on on an internet site hyperlink, divided by the full variety of customers uncovered to that hyperlink. The ensuing share reveals simply how effectively a selected advert or hyperlink has carried out over a particular time interval.   


DM: direct message or junk mail

One-on-one exchanges on Twitter, which solely the sender and recipient can see. Source of the phrase “slipping into my DMs.” Can additionally discuss with direct advertising: the distribution of ads and provides via the standard, bodily mail system. 

DOE: relying on expertise

An acronym that HR departments and recruiters use to keep away from setting a particular base wage for an open place. As obscure as the same “market charge,” it permits them room to maneuver throughout wage negotiations. 

DR: debit

In double-entry-accounting stability sheets, a debit is entered to point an belongings improve or a legal responsibility lower. Every debit entered should have an identical credit score (CR) for the books to be balanced.


EBITDA (earnings earlier than curiosity, taxes, depreciation, and amortization)

Though it seems like one thing a child may say, EBITDA is definitely a exact measure of an organization’s monetary efficiency, making an allowance for the cash it has earned earlier than many long-term capital prices are factored in. EBITDA is used to set future efficiency targets, evaluate two or extra firms’ fiscal well being, and to quantify profitability.

EQ: emotional intelligence

The skill to learn different individuals’s feelings and react accordingly. In enterprise terms, EQ can discuss with the diploma an organization’s tradition supplies a protected, open atmosphere for workers. 

EOD: finish of day

Text/e-mail shorthand usually used to a) inform an worker you oversee that you simply anticipate them to complete a job earlier than they depart the workplace for the day or b) promise to get again to an worker you oversee earlier than you permit the workplace for the day. Option A is usually fudged; choice B is usually forgotten. 

EOM: finish of message

A fast technique to inform the recipient of a communication that there isn’t a extra to learn. Often utilized in emails on the finish of a topic line to point that there isn’t a want to really open the physique textual content: Everything you could know is within the topic line. 

EOT: finish of thread

Used on social media to point that  specific dialogue has ended at that time, and whoever is studying can cease scrolling down for extra. 

EOW: finish of week

Used to set a deadline or promise a deliverable by EOD Friday (historically the least productive few hours of the usual work week.)

EPS: earnings per share

The sum of money an organization makes for every share of its inventory, calculated by dividing a company’s web revenue by its variety of frequent shares. Used by traders as a measure of an organization’s profitability. 

ESP: e-mail service supplier

An organization that gives e-mail internet hosting companies for different organizations and people. Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo Mail are traditional examples.


FIFO: first in, first out

The methodology of processing gadgets in a queue from oldest to latest. Can be utilized to every part from funding methods to stock accounting to pc knowledge processing. See additionally LIFO.

fixed-term employment

A contract of employment for a specified time period with a hard and fast charge of pay. Fixed-term contracts are often for one 12 months, with an choice to renew afterward, and are typically utilized by an organization to check out an worker earlier than hiring them on a everlasting foundation.

FTE: full-time worker

Any worker who works a full work week (historically 40 hours or extra). Full-time workers are often (however not at all times) eligible for full firm advantages, together with medical health insurance, sick days, and trip time.

FTP: file transport protocol

A way for transferring recordsdata between computer systems by establishing a separate devoted server for that objective. Used particularly by net designers to implement modifications to a website.  

FWIW: (for what it’s price) 

Shorthand for: “What I’m about to say may very effectively be ineffective to everybody concerned. Or it could possibly be extremely vital. I’m leaving that completely as much as you.”


GA: Google Analytics

The dominant web-analytics service on the web, GA permits web sites to trace their visitors and analyze what customers are doing on their website. Currently, the important thing software guiding how firms design and improve their web sites to optimize efficiency and attain.

GC: common counsel

The head lawyer for a corporation or authorities division, in control of all authorized issues, together with contracts with different firms, threat evaluation, compliance, and disaster administration. Also typically often called a chief authorized officer (CLO).


HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol

The client-server protocols via which nearly all Internet visitors is carried out. HTTP permits “purchasers” (often browsers like Firefox or Chrome) to speak with “servers,” the computer systems that host web sites.

HTTPS: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure

An extension of HTTP that encrypts communication between shopper and server, creating one other stage of safety in web transactions.

hybrid resume

A resume that places the skills-and-accomplishments part first, earlier than the work-experience part. Useful for job seekers with no work historical past, with a number of employment gaps, or who’re getting into a brand new discipline. 



A kind from the Department of Homeland Security that verifies an worker’s id and confirms that they’ll legally work within the United States.

IAM: in a gathering 

Shorthand for: “I’m unavailable now;” “I can’t choose up the telephone proper now;” “I’ll name or textual content you later;” or “I’ll by no means get again to you so long as I reside.”  

IM: prompt messaging

Written communication going down over the web in actual time, whether or not for private or enterprise causes. Examples of IM platforms embody Slack, Skype, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Discord, and any customer-service chat perform on a consumer-facing enterprise web site. 

IMO (in my view): Great for while you’re introducing an concept that you really want credit score for (if it works) or that you really want to have the ability to dismiss simply (if it doesn’t). IMHO ups the ante by making it your “humble opinion.”

IP: web protocol

The guidelines governing how packets of data are despatched between computer systems on the web. The fundamental basis of all on-line communication.


KISS: (hold it easy, silly)

An acronym to remind individuals to not overcomplicate their concepts, options, designs, and arguments. Originated within the U.S. Navy to discuss with airplane design, which works higher when stored easy. 

KPI: key efficiency indicator

A KPI is a technique to gauge the success of an worker, a staff, or an organization at reaching predefined enterprise targets throughout a specified time period. KPIs may be something from web earnings to buyer interactions to variety of articles posted on-line.  


LET: leaving early right this moment

Probably not sensible to make use of this acronym when writing to your supervisor, however turns out to be useful when addressing somebody equal or decrease to you on the totem pole. 

LIFO: final in, first out

The methodology of processing gadgets in a queue from latest to oldest. Like its reverse, FIFO, LIFO may be utilized to every part from promoting shares to stock administration to pc knowledge dealing with. 

LMK: let me know

A fast method of claiming, “Get again to me someday sooner or later.” Used by somebody who doesn’t want to listen to again by any particular time.

LWOP: depart with out pay

When an worker takes day off from a job however shouldn’t be paid for that point. Usually initiated on the worker’s request, LWOP permits a employee to place their employment on maintain with out utterly shedding their job, whereas permitting the corporate to save cash on their wage. 


MoM: month over month

The change in enterprise progress from one month to the following, often expressed as a share.

MTD: month up to now

The interval from the start of the calendar month to the present date. Can be utilized in measuring short-term progress, efficiency, or knowledge assortment.


NAV: web belongings worth

The distinction between the worth of an organization’s belongings and the price of its liabilities. Used by traders to assist confirm an organization’s frequent inventory worth, it can be utilized to mutual funds and different monetary securities.

NIM: no inside message

Similar to EOM, NIM in a topic line tells the recipient they don’t should open the physique of the e-mail, as the whole message is contained within the topic line.

NRN: no reply obligatory

In different phrases, “Please don’t write again.” Great for avoiding these lengthy tail ends of e-mail conversations when everybody thanks one another.

NSFW: not protected for work

The workplace equal of a triple-X ranking. Doesn’t essentially should contain pornography. Usually does.

NWR: not work-related

An acronym that tells the recipient that no matter follows will both be a welcome distraction from a boring job or an unwelcome interruption when they’re really being productive. 


OKR (goal and key outcomes)

An announcement of particular, measurable targets for a whole staff or firm to succeed in for. Used to focus particular person effort and present motivation. OKRs are often set larger than can realistically be achieved. Reaching solely 70% to 75% of your OKR is taken into account successful, whereas reaching 100% of your OKR means you set your aim too low.

OOO: out of workplace

Text shorthand to point somebody shouldn’t be presently within the office. Never observe this with a proof level, or individuals will assume you’re watching fireworks. 

OS: working system

The programming platform on which a selected pc or cellular gadget runs purposes. The most typical desktop methods embody Windows, macOS, and Linux.  Android and iOS are the 2 dominant cellular working methods. 

OT: off-topic

Used to acknowledge you that you’re about to introduce an abrupt change of topic and don’t need to give the recipient cognitive whiplash.

OTP: on the telephone

Used when you may’t IM — see IM (prompt message) — with somebody, both as a result of a) you’re really on the telephone, b) you’re texting with another person, or c) you’re seven movies deep right into a YouTube gap of previous “Parks and Rec” bloopers.


P-card: buy card

A cost card given to an worker for use particularly for enterprise purchases and interactions. Used by firms to each lower your expenses and stop fraud.  

P/E: value to earnings

An organization’s inventory value divided by its earnings per share. Tells traders what the market is keen to pay for a inventory primarily based on previous earnings, and helps decide whether or not a inventory is over-or under-valued.

P&L: revenue and loss

A daily monetary assertion exhibiting an organization’s income minus varied overhead prices resembling hire, payroll, price of products, and many others. Investors analyze P&Ls to get a way of the corporate’s money move.

PA: efficiency appraisal

Traditionally given yearly or semiannually, a efficiency evaluate permits an employer to evaluate an worker’s contribution to the corporate’s efforts, get suggestions from workers on the work tradition, and give raises or bonuses.  

pink collar

A play on “blue-collar,” pink-collar jobs are comparatively low-paying positions which can be traditionally related to ladies, resembling secretaries, nurses, receptionists, lecturers, and dental hygienists.  

PIP: efficiency enchancment plan

A framework for correcting issues with an worker’s efficiency, often written up as an official memo, with actionable steps and expectations.  

POC: level of contact

The individual you go to with questions, issues, concepts, or complaints a few designated undertaking or enterprise. POCs may be between departments (“Jenny is the POC on the sales-force restructuring”), firms (“Jenny is our POC over at Apple”), or manufacturers and their prospects (“Jenny is the POC in customer support.”) 

PPC: ppc

See CPC. The price an internet advertiser pays to an internet site at any time when somebody clicks on one in all its advertisements. 

PTE: part-time worker

An worker who works fewer hours than the complete work week. May not be eligible for sure advantages and could also be thought of an unbiased contractor, relying on the corporate.

PTO: paid day off

Time away from work for which an worker is paid. PTO advantages embody trip days, sick days, private days, maternity and paternity depart, and many others.

PV: web page view

The variety of instances a web page is loaded or reloaded in a browser throughout a specified time period. Regularly used as a measure of the recognition of an internet site or particular content material. 


QA: high quality assurance

The monitoring of a enterprise course of to substantiate that high quality requirements are being met. Usually the accountability of a particular division inside an organization. 


Re: referring to

A helpful holdover from the times when memos had been despatched on paper, “Re:” (often utilizing a colon) lets the individual you’re writing to shortly find the topic you need to talk about of their extremely compartmentalized work-hours mind.

RFD: request for dialogue

The enterprise equal of elevating your hand in school, an RFD may be something from an e-mail asking for a gathering to a posting on a project-specific message board. It’s citing a brand new topic or remark and asking for it to be addressed.

RFP: request for proposal

A doc an organization sends out to potential contractors that publicly publicizes what the corporate is searching for, outlining the undertaking’s specs, and giving a deadline for submission of a proposal. 

ROA: return on belongings

A measure of an organization’s price in comparison with its complete belongings, calculated as a share. This quantity takes into consideration a company’s money owed and is utilized by traders to gauge profitability. 

ROE: return on fairness

A measure of an organization’s price in comparison with its shareholders’ complete fairness, calculated as a share. This quantity does not bear in mind a company’s money owed. It’s utilized by traders to match efficiency to different firms in the identical business.

ROR: Ruby on Rails

A framework of prewritten code that streamlines and standardizes server-side net apps. Used by websites like Airbnb, Twitch, Github, and Hulu. The cool children simply name it “Rails.”

ROS: run of website

An choice for web site advert placement wherein an advert can seem wherever on the location, whatever the visitors that location receives. Usually a less expensive choice for the advertiser. 

RSS: wealthy website abstract or actually easy syndication

An internet feed that enables customers to simply and robotically entry updates to web sites. Often used for distributing new content material resembling articles, blogs, and podcasts to your organization’s buyer group. 

RT: retweet

Reposting another person’s tweet in your Twitter stream. Universally understood as a public settlement with and vote of confidence within the unique tweet. The social media equal of yelling, “Hey, hearken to what this individual has to say!” Brands use RTs to assist form their public picture (and typically injury it).


SaaS: software program as a service

When a program is offered utilizing the subscription mannequin, versus a one-time-payment, and the majority of the software program is saved on-line. Zoom, Dropbox, Slack and just about any cloud-based service is an instance of the SaaS mannequin.

website positioning: SEO

The artwork (or science) of constructing certain your content material seems on the primary web page of outcomes on Google (or some other search website. But primarily Google.) By researching and analyzing key phrases and search knowledge, web sites tailor their content material to realize larger rankings in search algorithms.

SM: social media

Web platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok, wherein individuals submit content material, talk, and react. Brands use social media to promote, promote, construct communities, and usually work together with present and potential prospects. Occasionally, a model will use social media to utterly destroy itself. 

SMART: particular, measurable, attainable, life like, time-bound

A goal-setting methodology that breaks down the 5 parts it is best to incorporate into every aim you set for your self, whether or not you’re a skilled in search of a brand new place or a CEO creating an organization technique.

SMB: small-to-medium enterprise

An organization whose measurement falls beneath a sure threshold, in terms of variety of workers, income, or belongings. Just what that threshold is is dependent upon the nation and the business. SMBs are thought of an vital indicator of an financial system’s well being and are massive contributors to new job creation. 

SME: material skilled

A acknowledged grasp of a selected ability set or space of information, employed solely for that experience. The go-to authority on a selected area of interest space inside an organization or business. 

SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, alternatives, threats

A typical framework for analyzing an organization’s aggressive well being, making an allowance for each inside and exterior situations and assessing progress potential. 


TED: inform me, clarify to me, describe to me

A reminder to salespeople to ask open-ended questions, which elicit extra details about a buyer’s wants than extra particular questions do.

TL;DR: too lengthy, didn’t learn

A one-line abstract of the extra detailed info that follows. The fundamental level you need to get throughout to whoever doesn’t have the time to learn the whole memo or proposal.

TLTR: too lengthy to learn

An appropriately succinct technique to inform somebody that the e-mail, report, or proposal in query must be severely edited. Works equally effectively as constructive criticism or a stone-cold rejection. 

TOS: terms of service

The authorized language that defines your organization’s relationship to its prospects. Vitally vital that the authorized division goes over it with a fine-tooth comb, though most individuals won’t ever learn it.

TYT: take your time

In different phrases: “Don’t rush to get this again to me, as I in all probability received’t take a look at it for at the very least a month.” 


UI: consumer interface

The net pages and packages that permit customers to work together with an internet site, whether or not to purchase a product, join a service, hunt down customer support, or anything. Refers to each the bodily design and performance. (See additionally UX)

UV: distinctive customer

Any one that visits a website throughout a specified time period, as decided by their distinctive IP handle. Unique customers are solely counted as soon as, so whether or not somebody lands on a website then instantly leaves (see bounce charge) or stays for an hour and clicks on 20 totally different pages, they’re counted as one UV. 

UX: consumer expertise

The precise expertise that the UI produces for the consumer. Companies will design and replace their consumer interfaces so as to create the optimum UX for his or her prospects.  


VPN: digital non-public community

A program that routes web visitors via nameless, encrypted servers. This theoretically ensures nobody can monitor or entry your organization’s info or communications until they’ve entry to the VPN.



Federal tax-withholding kind that workers and unbiased contractors fill out at first of employment. Provides your employer with  info to pay you on the books and withhold the right quantity of taxes, if relevant.

WFH: earn a living from home

Self-explanatory, particularly throughout a pandemic. Sometimes used for “works for me,” which appears applicable given how most individuals really feel about working from home.

WIIFM: what’s in it for me

The response you might need when somebody suggests a brand new workflow or platform however the profit to you is unclear. In gross sales, it is also used to border the method to a potential buyer, who will in all probability ask themselves the identical query. If a salesman can present a solution, they’re effectively on the best way to closing the deal.

WOM: phrase of mouth

Organic publicity that outcomes solely from interactions between customers of your organization’s product. Publicity you don’t should pay for.

WYSIWYG: what you see is what you get

Coined to point a graphic design program that might precisely duplicate on display screen the completed printed product. These days, nonetheless, just about all such packages are WYSIWYG, so the acronym may discuss with packages that mean you can design webpages with none data of HTML. 


YTD: 12 months up to now

Any time period beginning at first of the calendar 12 months (Jan. 1) and ending on the day you employ the time period. Often used when reporting earnings, expenditures, or some other quantifiable enterprise knowledge.

Recommended For You

Leave a Reply